The Brooklands Society controversy

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Sir,

With reference to “The Brooklands Society Controversy” which has appeared in your last two issues, it seems as if I am not the only one who is apprehensive about the direction that things seem to be taking. (I was so besieged at the VSCC meeting at Brooklands by people saying how much they agreed with nty sentiments, I was almost unable to film the event which was my purpose for being there.) But I thank the record should be put straight with regard to one or two of your correspondents’ letters in the February edition.

Nobody could have done more for the BrooklandsSociety than Jimmy and Barbara Dunn in the early days and it came as a great shock to all the Committee when we saw that, in the local press, there was a letter to the Editor advocating the routing of the M25 through Brooklands, sent from the registered address of the Society and signed by J. H. Dunn. At the next Committee Meeting after all Members had had their say, and most of us praising their past Work, Jimmy Dunn saw tit to take from his breast pocket an envelopecontaining an already typed and signed resignation for himself and Barbara. It was an impossible situation. How could one person he Secretary to an organisation trying to preserve our beloved Brooklands whilst advocating its total destruction?

Your other correspondent in Hampstead shows a lamentable ignorance of the facts. If he is a Member of the Brooklands Society, his letter shows an appalling lack of communication between the Committee and the Membership.

And if he is not a Member, one can only wonder where he got his inaccurate information from. You see, I never resigned from the Committee. I wrote in June to the Chairman saying that I would not be standing for re-election at the AGM in October. I have a letter from Roy Nockolds deeply regretting my decision and asking me to continue as Editor of The Brooklands Society Gazette. He repeated this request at the AGM and I agreed and I have continued to help at the Reunions and Dinners. So your Hampstead correspondent is “right over the banking” when he says that I resigned “in a fit of pique”. But I wholeheartedly agree with him over Jimmy and Barbara Dunn and the late Roland King-Farlow. Roland had been a personal friend of mine for many years and I am happy to say that this friendship still continues with his widow, Victoria. And it will be Seen from the above penultimate paragraph that I had no more to do with ,limmy and Barbara Dunn’s resignation than any other Member of the Committee.

Beckenham R.O. WILSON-KITCHEN

 

Sir,

The Brooklands Firefighters? Smoke without fire is an understatement if ever there was one; a calamitous conflagration seems to be damped down merely by sheer weight of words. Do they think we will all accept the principle of using 266 words when 6 would suffice?

Everyone knows that Brooklands Society correspondence does not often get dealt with, a contrast to the attitude of earlier Secretaries unless it is all getting lost at the accommodation address, and is there not, Mr. Editor, a simple sharp word describing such action as fund transference without membership approval? We hear severe criticism of the officer’s handling of finances and at the same time learn that a competent member of the Society involved with such things as a million pound turnover works only for the Society in the very mundane matter of photocopying for its records. Could he, alone, be the best ‘Society manager?

All the pre-war Brooklands habituees are getting older and some must be very depressed that the only so called progress of the last few years has been this £2,000-matter which, for all the finesse with which it has been handled, might just as well have been accompanied by a two fingered gesture to the members.

To let matters drift further could be disastrous. The membership should insist on an emergency meeting to clarify the management inadequacies and institute drastic remedial action. If heads have to roll in the process, so be it. Above all we must hope for action and not protracted paper-wasting excuses or protestations of being misquoted, misunderstood, misinterpreted etc.

Rhiwbina HAROLD G. N. WOOLRIDGE

 

Sir,

As one of the earlier members of the Brooklands Society (Membership No. 45) I am saddened but not entirely surprised by the recently published correspondence.

In the pre-Society days when a few of us gathered at the track for a look round and in the early days of the Society itself a spirit of genial efficiency and enthusiasm seemed to permeate. Was it not at an early “Hand & Spear” natter that the idea of clearing a small portion of the track first arose? Although in those days we recalled happy times I doubt whether anyone seriously envisaged that we would buy Brooklands or that the Society could have any great appeal to the very much younger “needing-a-haircut” type of motor enthusiast.

When the Society found it necessary to appoint a new Secretary in 1975 they listed in their magazine the qualities that the new man “must” have; among these was the necessity to “have known Brooklands very well before its closure”. They then proceeded to appoint a man who probably had touch to commend him but who certainly did not have an intimate. knowledge of the track. Why emphasise the qualification needed and then ignore it? This has always puzzled me; it could be where some reasoning started to go adrift. The current Secretary as an apparently much younger man could not have known Brooklands as well as his predecessors except possibly in a previous existence if one believes in such. Track knowledge cannot but be helpful to such an officer.

Certainly my recent experience of Society efficiency is not encouraging. I felt it necessary to take up one matter and the Treasurer (a reliable man) assured me over a year ago that it had been passed on and would be dealt with. Presumably I must have recourse to legal measures or a shotgun if I desire action.

As an ex-Company Secretary I am puzzled after reading the non-explanations re Brooklands Track Ltd. Publish the Memorandum/Articles in the Society magazine and for good measure the minutes of recent Committee Meetings, too. Bring back Brooklands, certainly – if practical – but first bring back some commonsense, expertise and the genial efficiency which used to prevail. If the latter were not so sadly lacking Motor Sport would not have received so many letters.

Newnham BERNARD WHEELER

 

Sir,

The Committee of the Brooklands Society, having carefully considered the correspondence which was published in the February issue of Motor Sport, wish to make the following statement. In response to Mr. Wilson-Kitchen’s letter in the January issue, which was critical of the affairs of the Society, the Honorary Secretary was instructed to write to this correspondent with an invitation to put his views and doubts direct to the Committee so that any matters which caused him concern could be investigated and answered to his satisfaction. Because no reply to this invitation was received, a second letter was sent to which also the Committee has received no reply to date.

On further investigation, it would appear that a very small group from within the Society’s membership of over 1,500 have, for reasons unknown to the Committee, been trying to cause dissention for what must be assumed can only be disruptive purposes. Under Clause 15 of the Articles of Association of the Brooklands Society Ltd., a quorum consisting of 10% of the total membership may call for an Extraordinary General Meeting which the Committee are quite prepared to arrange should it be called for. Failing this, as there is a great deal of serious work to be done, the Committee feel that no further time should be wasted in open correspondence, but that it will endeavour, as always, to answer directly any queries that Society members and members of the public may wish to raise and that the Society as a whole will continue to strive for the preservation of Brooklands to the benefit of everybody.

For The Committee Of The Brooklands Society Ltd.

London, W.1 ANDREW CHILD Hon. Secretary

(This correspondence opens with a reply from Mr. Russell Wilson-Kitchen, who started it, followed by a representative selection from the large volume of letters received. There is no room for a very long letter we have had from Mr. Peter Roddis of Huntingdon, the Society’s PRO, as we cannot devote more than a reasonable portion of this issue of Motor Sport to Society business but it can be inspected at our offices. This correspondence, although not necessarily the subject, is now closed, as we consider the matter has now been clarified to the extent where it is now for the Society’s members to decide how to proceed. Incidentally, we understand that Mr. Roy NockoIds has given up Vice-Presidency of the Society and that Mr. Vaughan-Davis has taken his place. It has been put to us that as only Presidents and Vice-Presidents are eligible to chair the Society’s Committee Meetings or AGMs all such meetings held since the President left England are, in fact, null and void. That, again is a matter for members of the Society and, while we look forward to another Brooklands Re-Union, we are becoming exasperated by these wranglings. Ed.)

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